I could have better stated business interest, Albert Ho says

Democrats chairman admits he should have declared his stake in Katsu Investment, a property firm that had been dormant since 1997

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 3:08am

Democratic Party chairman and "super seat" hopeful Albert Ho Chun-yan said he could have done better in declaring his stake in a property rental firm.

Ho made the admission after the media criticised him for the second time in recent weeks for his failure to declare his business interest.

But Ho noted that Katsu Investment had been dormant since early 1997 with "no business, no activity and no annual return". It was founded in 1986 and liquidated in 2008.

Ho declared his stake when he was first elected as a lawmaker in 1995, but not in 1998 and for his subsequent terms..

Under the rules of procedure of the Legislative Council, lawmakers must declare any beneficial interest in a company's shareholdings of a nominal value greater than 1 per cent of the issued share capital.

In May 1996, Ho held half of Katsu's issued share capital, while Orient Treasure held the other half.

The Democrat yesterday said a document had been filed with the Companies Registry in May 1998 to declare that Katsu Investment had been dormant since January 1997.

"For some reason which I don't know of, the company could not be wound-up until 2008, but from 1998 to 2008 the firm had no business, no activity and no annual return," Ho said.

However, Ho admitted that he had been a Katsu director and shareholder until its closure. "So you could say that I could have declared it. It was a grey area … in the future, I will declare more and better."

Ho is running for one of five new "super seats" in a citywide ballot on September 9 for the 3.2 million voters who don't have a vote in any other functional constituency. The other candidates include James To Kun-sun, Pamela Peck Wan-kam, Lau Kong-wah, Frederick Fung Kin-kee, Starry Lee Wai-king and Chan Yuen-han.

Earlier this month, local newspapers criticised Ho over his "failure" to include shares in Sound Factor Limited in his Legco declaration of interest.

Ho countered that he was only a nominee shareholder who would not gain from his stake, and lawmakers were not obliged to declare shares from which they would not derive any benefit.

Sound Factor was owned by Nan Hai Corporation chairman Yu Pun-hoi, who has been leasing a HK$15 million building in Prince Edward to the Democratic Party for just HK$20,000 a month.